Articles such as this boldly illuminate the silent outbreak that has undoubtedly polluted the lives of so many people globally. No “intelligent species” should ever have to be advised against rape. Unfortunately for mankind, we do not live in a euphoric utopia but the contrary is true.
By Melysa Mashamba
How You Can Help to Prevent and Protect Yourself Against Sexual Assault.
This multifactorial disease can be simplified as the “Rotten Parts of Masculinity and the Ugly side of Femininity”. In essence these are biological and behavioural differences between male and females as well as religious doctrines whose erroneous interpretations can render distinct cultural elements parasitic when infused and accepted within society.
For example, some argue that “it is biologically imperative for men to spread their “seed” due to their ability to rapidly produce millions of sperm hence their insatiable sexual appetite compared to women” This type of thinking reduces men to their sexual counterparts and refutes the concept that men and women alike are intelligent species with extensive reasoning and analytical capabilities. It also normalises bizarre sexual behaviours under the guise of “genetically acquired characteristics” therefore excusing it as a “nature over nurture” issue which ultimately opposes authentic scientific studies on these matters.
Dispelling the Myths Surrounding Rape & Sexual Assault
Women are not the only rape victims.
Gender identity is not the determining the factor on whether or not a person becomes a victim, as rape is not a gender specific crime. Anyone who associates themselves as being either male or female is at risk of rape. Media outlets solely and erroneously focus on the alarming statistics denoting female victims of rape but they often neglect to report on the equally disturbing cases involving men and boys victims of rape.
Men are not the only perpetrators of rape.
Although discussions about rape usually centre on men being the offenders, the truth is that there are women who commit such crimes, some of whom are convicted rapists presently serving time in correctional facilities. It is also important to understand that rape is not defined as forcible penal penetration of the vagina but unwanted ORAL, ANAL or vaginal penetration. Sexual assault differs from rape as it is an umbrella term for all unwanted sexual contact including fondling, molestation, voyeurism, exhibitionism, incest, and sexual harassment among many others.
Rape is something that affects people of all backgrounds.
Most will agree with Anna Binkovitz who wisely said “one of the perks of being an adult is the ability to use words to confirm or ask or when you want something”. But a prevalent nonsensical myth about rape is that “girls who wear short skirts and low cut tight tops are asking for sexual attention”. However, styles of clothing, having an outgoing personality or flirtatious nature are not risk factors for rape. Furthermore, case studies show that rape and sexual assault offences are committed and experienced by people of all backgrounds, young or old, male or female regardless of income, nationality, educational or marital status and ethnicity.
Rape Can Occur Within a Marriage or Relationship
At present, there are many people who adopt the view that rape cannot possibly occur within relationship or between two people who previously had sex with each other. This mentality contributes to the high rates of unreported sexual offences. Fundamentally, any form of unwanted sexual penetration using body parts or tools forced upon another person or animal by a stranger, family member, loved one, husband or wife, young or old regardless of prestige and position of power is wrong and is punishable by law.
Being Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol does Not Equate to Consent
Some studies suggest that ½ of rape cases involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim, or both. These investigations indicate that beliefs about alcohol’s effects on sexual and aggressive behaviour as well as stereotypes about drinking women, and alcohol’s effects on cognitive and motor skills collectively implicate alcohol in sexual assault. The most important thing to remember is that the worst time to sexually pursue a person is when they are under the influence of any substances.
If in doubt ask, ask and ASK AGAIN!
Consent doesn’t explicitly mean asking a YES or NO question before the act but it also alludes to whether or not the other person was a willing fully present participant. Whether it is a long-term partner or someone you’ve just met, it is your responsibility to ensure that you both share a collective conscience about the events taking place. You do this by gaging their interaction with you i.e. are they kissing you back or dodging your lips, are they caressing you also or laying there lifeless, are they attempting to undress you or griping on to their own clothing for comfort, is he/she enjoying your penetration or do they look miserable and almost in tears. At worst the person says “NO” and you swiftly remove yourself from the situation but at least you are less likely to incur a rape conviction.
Contrary to such myths about rape and other forms of sexual assault, men and women share equal responsibility in the effort against sexual offences by candidly confronting certain cultural norms in society and deviant attitudes that perpetuate these heinous acts. Hence, the importance of what may seem as absurd discussions such as this. So what is rape and how exactly does it differ from sexual assault? Rape is defined as unwanted penetration, whether that is oral, anal, or vaginal. Sexual assault refers to any unwanted sexual contact, including fondling and molestation. Although it is virtually impossible to know when someone is contemplating rape, there are some ways you can help to prevent becoming a victim of some forms of sexual assault.